In response to a First Amendment lawsuit filed by student and animal rights activist Nicolas Tomas, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona has promised not to enforce the university policies at issue while the case is being litigated.» Read More
Category: Press Releases
Schools: California State Polytechnic University – Pomona
Cases: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona – Stand Up For Speech FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project
Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project plaintiff Nola Wiersma has one regret about settling her First Amendment lawsuit with Western Michigan University: She didn’t get an apology from the university for violating her constitutional rights.
We generally encourage plaintiffs to let university defendants save face and savor the fact that they have restored free expression to their campuses, vindicating their rights and those of their fellow students. In short, we advise being gracious in victory. In the case of WMU, however, that is easier said than done. If the university didn’t owe Nola and her co-plaintiffs Kestrel Peace (named as Jessica Clark in the complaint) and the Kalamazoo Peace Center an apology for its handling of the Boots Riley appearance that triggered the lawsuit (and it did), it certainly owes them one now for its churlish and misleading spin on the settlement agreement placed on record with the court on April 30, 2015.» Read More
After sponsoring an event focused on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the aftermath of the tragic attack on the publication’s staff in January, the University of Minnesota’s (UMN’s) College of Liberal Arts (CLA) was investigated by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) for flyers promoting the event. The flyers featured a reproduction of the cover of the first Charlie Hebdo edition published following the attack with the word “censored” stamped over it. Eight individuals filed a complaint with EOAA, and approximately 260 people signed a petition calling the flyer design “very offensive.” Both groups included students, staff members, and non-community members. After an investigation, the flyers were determined not to have violated university policy, but the community’s response to the flyers nevertheless demonstrates misunderstandings about freedom of expression and the interests at stake.» Read More
Dixie State University has announced that it will suspend the unconstitutional speech codes that three students challenged in a First Amendment lawsuit filed in March. The lawsuit, which is supported by FIRE, targeted Dixie State’s unconstitutional flyer approval process, posting policies, “free speech zone,” and club event policies—all of which are now suspended.» Read More
FIRE is proud to introduce Colin Crossman, our new Senior Program Officer, Individual Rights Education Program (IREP).» Read More
Category: The Torch
Western Michigan U. Settles Boots Riley ‘Speech Tax’ Lawsuit, ‘Stand Up For Speech’ Scores Fifth Victory
Western Michigan University has agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit that alleged the university taxed controversial speech by making student organizers pay for extra security to host rapper and social activist Boots Riley on campus.» Read More
Applications are open for the 2015 FIRE Student Network Conference, and space is filling up fast.
Why should you sign up? We can tell you about our exciting program, featuring keynote speakers Radley Balko and Nadine Strossen. We could go into detail about the practical tools you’ll gain and the important connections you’ll make at the conference. We could even remind you that it’s free to attend and that travel stipends are available to help get you to Philly.
But don’t take it from us. Check out what students at the last conference had to say about working with FIRE to fight for student rights.» Read More
Category: The Torch
Earlier this week, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Faculty Council voted to eliminate a university anti-harassment rule that’s been suspended since 2013. UNC’s Student Congress has also approved the change to this speech-restrictive policy, meaning that only UNC Chancellor Carol Folt is left to approve it. UNC law professor Richard Myers, a former federal prosecutor and outgoing chairman of the university’s Committee on Student Conduct, told the Faculty Council the rule was “unconstitutionally overbroad” and had been a source of tension for professors and student groups for a number of years.» Read More
Many have argued that American Sniper encourages anti-Arab sentiment, such that it creates an unsafe campus environment for Arab and Arab-American students—an argument that says far more about desires, if not demands, for round-the-clock intellectual comfort than it does about any physical danger the mere screening of the film presents.» Read More
Earlier this week, FIRE reported on The George Washington University’s (GWU’s) suspension of a Jewish student who displayed a Hindu swastika he brought back with him from a trip to India on his residence hall’s bulletin board. Charging the student with five conduct code violations, the university ignored the swastika’s long tradition as a symbol of good luck. In so doing, GWU ignored its own promises of free expression, as well as FIRE’s March 27 letter arguing that it must rescind its punishment of the student.
Many commentators have since written publicly to explain that the mere display of a swastika cannot be punished consistent with free speech principles.» Read More